The Labyrinth Movement

Creating a culture where men and women share leadership equally

Senior women faculty members in the School of Medicine have come together to establish the “Labyrinth Movement.” The name was inspired by the ground-breaking article in the September 2007 issue of the Harvard Business Review titled “Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership.”

Broadly, the senior women faculty group’s goal is to help transform the culture of OHSU by reducing obstacles that impede the progress of women leaders and create an environment where men and women share leadership equally. The group, which has met over the past 2 years, is comprised of over 70 women faculty members with the academic rank of professor, with defined leadership positions within the School of Medicine or who have a role in women's advancement issues.

The Stories Project:

Capturing the perspectives of senior faculty women

Five faculty members, selected from various stages in their careers, have generously shared their stories – with admirable frankness – and have all answered this question: What advice would you give to junior faculty based on your experiences as a woman in academic medicine? 

Virginia Brooks, PhD

A logical path to success in academic medicine

Dr. BrooksTop tier scientists at academic medical centers sometimes begrudge the time spent away from their labs to pass on their wisdom in the classroom to the next generation. Virginia Brooks, PhD, is indisputably not one of them. She’s passionate about teaching, a quality that has earned her a raft of excellence in teaching awards.  Read More »

Sima Desai, MD

A medical detective on the trail of academic mastery

Dr. DesaiAs a child of immigrant parents, Dr. Desai's sense of "otherness" cast a shadow over her youth. "Discrimination was a fair constant for much of my growing up years," she says. "We were the only dark-skinned people in the area. Our family was integrating into a society… and I was straddling two worlds." Those early experiences taught Dr. Desai to refrain from judging others and to work to understand their perspective.  Read More »

Karen Deveney, MD

Reflections on a trailblazing career in surgery

Dr. DeveneyAsk Karen Deveney, MD, what personal qualities she believes have most contributed to her success as a physician, surgeon, teacher and director of arguably one of the best surgical residency programs in the country, and she has a ready answer: "Competitiveness, assertiveness and tenacity, otherwise known," she laughs, "as stubbornness."  Read More »

Susan Orloff, MD

By opening her own doors, she’s found success in academic medicine

Dr. OrloffWhen her spine was fractured in six places in a terrible biking accident, Susan Orloff's career as a surgeon seemed to be over even before it started. Her orthopaedic surgeon told her she would never be able to endure the pain of standing at the operating table for any length of time, and she might as well give up her career as a surgeon. Read more »

Frances Storrs, MD

Part activist, part feminist makes for a robust academic career

Dr. StorrsDr. Storrs was the first woman to complete a residency in the medical school's dermatology department and is a path-breaking physician, researcher and mentor. Her skills in the classroom have earned her many teaching and service awards. And along the way – through example and activism – she's fought to change the culture of academic medicine. Read More »


The Fund for the Advancement of Women's Leadership

The group has established – and provided an initial contribution to – a Fund for the Advancement of Women's Leadership. The fund will be used to provide resources to help guide junior women faculty at OHSU through their own professional labyrinths and will assist them on their journeys toward success and leadership. Initially, the fund has supported the Stories Project. Over time, The Fund for the Advancement of Women's Leadership at OHSU will support female faculty by providing funding to attend professional development conferences, bridge funding for junior faculty at pivotal times in their careers, create an awards program for outstanding women faculty, host an annual Labyrinth Leadership Conference with nationally recognized speakers, and ultimately create endowed professorships for women faculty leaders.  More info »